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7th Circuit grants writ of habeas corpus

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a habeas corpus petition, finding the Indiana Court of Appeals unreasonably applied federal law when it determined prior statements of identification by witnesses the government suppressed didn’t create a reasonable probability of a different result at trial.

Walter Lee Goudy appealed the denial of his habeas corpus petition by the District Court, arguing he was denied a fair trial because of the government’s failure to disclose three eyewitness statements that implicated one of its main witnesses and the failure of Goudy’s counsel to introduce his brother’s tape-recorded confession.

Goudy was convicted of killing Marvin McCloud while McCloud sat in his car, and wounding the front-seat passenger. Eyewitnesses at Goudy’s trial, including the state’s primary witness, Kaidi Harvell, gave different descriptions of the man they believed was Goudy. Eyewitnesses also gave different accounts regarding which side of the car the suspect was sitting on.

The government didn’t share at trial three police reports with statements by the witnesses that differ from the trial accounts, including that many of the witnesses picked Harvell out of a photo lineup as the shooter on the driver’s side. The jury also didn’t hear the tape-recorded confession by Romeo Lee, Goudy’s brother, who was there at the time of the shooting. He said he and Goudy were often confused for each other because of their similar appearances.

Goudy appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals, Supreme Court, and for post-conviction relief. All affirmed his convictions.

In Walter Lee Goudy v. James Basinger, superintendent, No. 08-3679, the Circuit judges found the Indiana Court of Appeals identified the correct legal principle -- Goudy had to demonstrate a reasonable probability that the new evidence would lead to a different result. But the appellate court decision required he prove the new evidence “would have” established his innocence, wrote Judge William Bauer.

“In short, Goudy has shown that the state court’s decision on his Brady claim involved an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law,” wrote the judge. “Rather than applying a ‘reasonable probability’ standard for materiality of suppressed evidence as required by United States v. Bagley, the court unreasonably required Goudy to show that the suppressed evidence would establish his innocence. The court did not recognize Bagley’s requirement that the effect of suppressed evidence be assessed cumulatively.”

Because the Circuit Court granted Goudy’s petition on the police report issue, the judges didn’t decide whether Goudy received ineffective assistance of counsel. The state has 120 days to retry Goudy or release him.

 

 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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